LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - Talks over a planned takeover at Aston Villa by a consortium of investors have collapsed, manager Tim Sherwood said on Tuesday.
British media reported in May that a group of investors led by former Chelsea business director Paul Smith had made a bid for the Premier League club of around 150 million pounds ($234.35 million).
American owner Randy Lerner, who completed a 62.6 million pounds takeover of the club in 2006, put Villa up for sale in May 2014 and said recently he would stand down as club chairman whether or not he managed to sell the club.
“I think it’s dead now, to be honest,” Sherwood said on Sky Sports.
”It was fairly live, but I think the people who were talking are now not there.
“The chairman is picking it up and running with it now. I‘m not sure if anyone is too close now. Until it’s done it’s never there.”
Villa, based in the city of Birmingham, finished 17th in the Premier League last season, one place above the relegation zone. They reached the FA Cup final, but were beaten 4-0 by Arsenal at Wembley.
They have won the English title seven times but the last of those triumphs came in 1981. They won the European Cup in the following season and their last major trophy was the League Cup in 1996.
Villa’s Belgian striker Christian Benteke has been strongly linked by British media with a move to Liverpool, who now have money in their pocket following the sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City in a deal worth up to 49 million pounds.
Benteke has a buyout clause in his contract and Sherwood reiterated the club’s stance that he would not be leaving unless the clause was activated.
”I think Liverpool -- I looked the other day -- have six or seven strikers at the club. Now I‘m not sure how many they actually need,“ Sherwood said. ”We know Christian is a very good player and we want to keep hold of him.
“If someone matches that buyout clause, there is nothing we can do about it. But until that happens, he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that.” ($1 = 0.6401 pounds) (Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Alan Baldwin)